Video: The Future of Biodiversity in Alberta - Regional Planning and the ABMI

Jim Herbers

The Province of Alberta is one of the most robust and dependent natural resource economies in the world. Alongside well-established agriculture and forest industries, revenue generated from Alberta’s oil and gas industry has shaped the provincial economy over the past three decades. Direct wealth generated by the sale of bitumen, crude oil, coal, natural gas, and their byproducts is estimated at $11.2 billion in 2012/13 (nearly 30% of all provincial revenue). Into the foreseeable future, Alberta’s budget is expected to become more dependent on oil and gas revenue – not less. As a result, Alberta’s already busy landscapes will experience continued pressure to support multiple natural resource industries. The Province has an obligation to undertake and demonstrate responsible environmental stewardship of these landscapes. In 2005 the Government of Alberta initiated work on the Land-use Framework (LuF). The LuF structure calls for the creation of seven regional plans and adopts a cumulative effects management approach to help manage the growing pressures on our lands. The first of these seven regional plans was approved by Cabinet in 2012 for the Lower Athabasca Region. In the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, the Government of Alberta’s approach to managing cumulative effects depends on the application of several environmental “management frameworks” one of which is the Biodiversity Management Framework. I will discuss the role of the ABMI in supporting regional Biodiversity Management Frameworks.